Plans to shake up New York state’s gambling industry will reignite the argument between Seneca Indians and the state over withheld payments. The state’s Senate Committee on Racing, Wagering and Gaming has scheduled a hearing for later today when they will look at what the future holds for the gambling industry within the state. The Committee has invited Seneca Indian President Rovery Odawi Porter along for the ride.
Rumors are that these latest plans could move the Senecas’ on from being slightly pissed to fucking irate! Reports are that state officials, including the new Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, have suggested that the state’s race tracks or “racinos” be expanded. The proposed expansion, which will require passage by two consecutive legislature session and then a referendum, can’t even go before voters before November 2013. The proposals would:
– Add potentially significant new gamblers who want to play table games.
– Block new competition that would appear if the state placed casinos in other sites.
Currently, the Senecas’ operate three casinos in the western part of the state and a contract was signed that meant no competing casinos could be built nearby. Under the terms, local municipalities received 25% of the state’s share of gambling revenue and this is where the contention currently lies. The Senecas’ haven’t paid up for some time as a protest over the state’s violation of the agreement – by building “racinos” near to their premises.
Tracks that would affect the Senecas are Buffalo Raceway, and Finger Lakes Casino & Racetrack. Cuomo though seems more concerned with competition from other states, such as Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and even from Canada than the Senecas’. It’s true that the amount paid by to the state by the Indians is less than that paid by other casinos. This would explain even more why the state is looking to expansion beyond Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) is how they want to make their money.
Looking over the border into Pennsylvania, it’s plain to see the advantage of allowing as many types of gambling as possible at your state’s own venues and the tax revenues are something that any state could do with right now. It’s though that at least an extra $150m will be generated for the state. Casino partners and the tracks will fund the $1bn needed to construct extra space and amenities at the existing racetracks. Regarding the money that they are owed by the Senecas’ – they can kiss goodbye to that coming their way anytime soon.